A robust method for removal of glint effects from satellite ocean colour imagery
R. K. Singh and P. Shanmugam
Ocean Optics and Imaging Laboratory, Department of Ocean Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai – 600036, India
Received: 15 Oct 2014 – Accepted for review: 17 Nov 2014 – Discussion started: 08 Dec 2014
Abstract. Removal of the glint effects from satellite imagery for accurate retrieval of water-leaving radiances is a complicated problem since its contribution in the measured signal is dependent on many factors such as viewing geometry, sun elevation and azimuth, illumination conditions, wind speed and direction, and the water refractive index. To simplify the situation, existing glint correction models describe the extent of the glint-contaminated region and its contribution to the radiance essentially as a function of the wind speed and sea surface slope that often lead to a tremendous loss of information with a considerable scientific and financial impact. Even with the glint-tilting capability of modern sensors, glint contamination is severe on the satellite-derived ocean colour products in the equatorial and sub-tropical regions. To rescue a significant portion of data presently discarded as "glint contaminated" and improving the accuracy of water-leaving radiances in the glint contaminated regions, we developed a glint correction algorithm which is dependent only on the satellite derived Rayleigh Corrected Radiance and absorption by clear waters. The new algorithm is capable of achieving meaningful retrievals of ocean radiances from the glint-contaminated pixels unless saturated by strong glint in any of the wavebands. It takes into consideration the combination of the background absorption of radiance by water and the spectral glint function, to accurately minimize the glint contamination effects and produce robust ocean colour products. The new algorithm is implemented along with an aerosol correction method and its performance is demonstrated for many MODIS-Aqua images over the Arabian Sea, one of the regions that are heavily affected by sunglint due to their geographical location. The results with and without sunglint correction are compared indicating major improvements in the derived products with sunglint correction. When compared to the results of an existing model in the SeaDAS processing system, the new algorithm has the best performance in terms of yielding physically realistic water-leaving radiance spectra and improving the accuracy of the ocean colour products. Validation of MODIS-Aqua derived water-leaving radiances with in-situ data also corroborates the above results. Unlike the standard models, the new algorithm performs well in variable illumination and wind conditions and does not require any auxiliary data besides the Rayleigh-corrected radiance itself. Exploitation of signals observed by sensors looking within regions affected by bright white sunglint is possible with the present algorithm when the requirement of a stable response over a wide dynamical range for these sensors is fulfilled.
Singh, R. K. and Shanmugam, P.: A robust method for removal of glint effects from satellite ocean colour imagery, Ocean Sci. Discuss., 11, 2791-2829, doi:10.5194/osd-11-2791-2014, 2014.